Day 21: Warm Bed; Recovery

I apologize for the weird formatting in the last several posts – working off my phone I knew typos would be common but I had no idea there was some weird coding thing happening because I copy and paste a lot from Evernote, where I do my daily journal. I went back and fixed each post – here’s to hoping that was the last of the weird issues.

Day 21  (2016-09-16): ~40 miles from Elk Prairie Campground to McKinleyville, CA. Mostly Highway 101 with a nice trail coming into McKinleyville.

This morning I was still recovering from the sickness of the last two days, but I am feeling a little better. It’s kind of like being hungover, except with less headache and more lethargy and trouble regulating body temperate. Luckily, Orick was only a few miles away and we were able to stop at a small country market where I bought some DayQuil- style meds to help me get through the day.

We got to see a herd of elk this morning between camp and Orick. There were probably about 20 females and for a while we couldn’t see the bull. But some tourist idiot got too close and drew the Bull’s attention, so it herded all the females back to a safe place. We unfortunately bypassed the Ladybug Johnson Grove where the Redwood National Park was (created). It was only a couple of miles off 101 but had a very steep (15℅) grade and, with me feeling unwell, I didn’t think it was a good idea. A nice man a few miles later told us we absolutely must see it & the most beautiful place on Earth! Hyperbole aside (I’m becoming very jaded on hyperbole) I do want to visit it one day. I’d like to come back and visit this whole area again – maybe drive and camp/backpack – so I’ll be sure to add the grove to my return list.

A harem (yes, that is a real term used for elk) of elk. During the mating season one male has a large group of females he claims/defends. The bull is out of view in the woods.

Outside of Orick we found a nice local selling freshly picked organic strawberries and we bought a bunch, plus the last two chocolate covered strawberries for good measure. So good! He warned of us the winding road with small shoulders ahead, which we were grateful for. Luckily, the traffic was low and this area didn’t look too bad. We took a break at Patrick Point State Park to snack and such, plus discuss where to stay. It had only been about 20 miles but we could stay at Patrick Point – it’s the only hiker-biker site for the next 80 or so miles. But with the weather continuing to be cold and foggy most of the day, and me being sick, it seemed like a good idea to find a warm bed for the night.

Lindsey  was happy to spend $60+ on an AirBnB or motel stay while I was really hoping to find a Warm Showers host. We compromised by reaching out to WS hosts first then setting a deadline of after lunch to hear back with a confirmed stay or else book an AirBnB. Lindsey found the Beachcomber Cafe, a “must eat” location in Trinidad. We stopped and spent $40 for a grilled cheese, a panini, two cups of soup, and two 12oz drinks. The soup was pretty good, but our meals were not worth $40. Oh yeah, did I mention it was a bus-your-own-table place? I’m all into the organic, local, self-bus and stuff but not when you’re charging steakhouse prices for cafe food/experience.

From the lunch spot it was about 10 miles to the AirBnB we ended up reserving (another $78) and we zigzagged on a country road, jumped on 101, and used a bike path to make the ride as good as possible. The Hammond Coastal Trail is a great ride, starting north of McKinleyville and continuing all the way through town. It’s a bypass route though, so if you’re looking for services you’ll need to venture into town. Then again, Arcata and Eureka are both just south so unless it’s pressing you could just skip by on the trail. Did I mention it is a really nice trail? Just beware about 1/2 or so in there is a half mile gravel section with a short but fairly steep gravel climb that can be tough – Lindsey ended up walking some of it. The rest is paved though. Highly recommended.

Our hosts were Rick and Jess, a (mid thirties?) couple with two young boys. We got a nice room, a tiny but private bath with shower, and some entertainment that, although expensive, was certainly worth it. After several days of poor reception (when it comes to reception out here ATT&T is well behind Verizon) I went outside to find reception and call my mom, then joined the family at the backyard firepit. The older boy had left to go to his first dance (he’s 12) and the younger son, Jack, had a couple of friends over. I joined them for hot dogs over the fire and shortly after some of Jess’ friends showed up for a Harvest Moon party. Sadly, the cloud cover completely ruined that night sky.

The three friends, two hosts, us, and two other guests who returned a bit later relaxed outside chatting and enjoying food and a couple of beers. I learned a bit about the area and talked to a guy who built his own yurt, which he is currently living in (in his parents back yard) while he pays his school debts. Man, people do all kinds of weird stuff. And somehow I am still told I am crazy for doing this ride…

Unfortunately, throughout the day I really didn’t take any photos and I also failed to do so at our AirBnB host. I had other things on my mind. Sorry!


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